There is no good news about the Trump administration’s proposed budget. At least, not unless you’re already wealthy and/or stand to profit further from the military-industrial complex. The proposed cuts are particularly dire for low-income Americans, and despite its regional support for Trump, Appalachia has not been spared the whip.
Some cuts are direct: The budget would phase out the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which receives federal funds to support economic diversification in 420 counties. Others are less direct: The budget also cuts aid to low-income public school students and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would disproportionately affect educational attainment in impoverished communities. But Politico reports that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney cited the desires of low-income Americans, including Appalachians, for the cuts on Morning Joe today:
When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no.
Thus Trump reveals the con: He promised Appalachia he’d bring it jobs. Many—not all, but many—of its residents believed him. And now he’s going to bleed them dry. Three Trump trips to Mar-a-Lago cost Americans $10 million, and that number is certain to rise. Can we really ask West Virginian coal miners to pay for that? Meanwhile, ARC takes $114 million a year to fund projects that support 25 million people. That’s a miniscule portion of the federal budget.
As Scott Lemieux argued for The New Republic yesterday, blame ultimately sits with the scam artist himself and not his marks. People will go jobless and hungry because of these cuts; if Trumpcare passes, they’ll die early, too. We face a crisis not just in Appalachia but in precarious communities located far outside its rocky limits.